Vols prepare for ‘hostile’ Georgia

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The message was clear Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena: Tennessee has Georgia on its mind.

“It’s going to be the most hostile environment we’ve been in this year,’’ UT men’s basketball coachcoach Bruce Pearl said. “These are the games that separate the champions from the contenders.

“We’ve got to be special.’’

The Vols (11-6, 1-2 SEC) play the Bulldogs (13-3, 2-1) in Athens at 7 p.m. Tuesday (TV: ESPNU).

Pearl will travel with the team to Georgia tonight, but he won’t be allowed to have dealings with his players until one hour after the game is completed as he serves the fourth game of his eight-game SEC suspension.

UT’s trip to Georgia last season resulted in a 78-63 loss.

“I remember they had quite a few highlights,’’ said Vols junior Cameron Tatum, one of four Georgia products on the Tennessee team. “They got into us early.’’

UT junior Scotty Hopson remembers the Vols were their own worst enemy.

“They scored a lot of baskets in transition,’’ Hopson said. “We missed a lot of shots.’’

The Bulldogs feature two projected first-round NBA draft picks in power forward Trey Thompkins and wing Travis Leslie. Point guard Gerald Robinson averages 13.9 points and 4.4 assists per game — second in the SEC.

“I told the team when we huddled up today, we can’t relax,’’ Hopson said. “Winning that one (Vanderbilt) game is not going to get us to the SEC championship.

“We have to keep playing like our backs are to the wall.

UT senior center Brian Williams said that’s just a fact.

“If we win this game, we might be in first in the (SEC) East,’’ Williams said. “But if we lose it, we’re still in last.’’

Pearl said it’s a great opportunity for his team to send a message.

“We’re trying to win the SEC,’’ Pearl said. “We’re not just trying to survive.’’

Georgia Is Ready: Hopson said he received a text message from Leslie, who he has known since the two played against one another on the AAU circuit.

“He said they’re going to be ready for us,’’ Hopson said. “I sent him one back saying we’re going to be ready, too.’’

Hopson said he hopes to draw the assignment of guarding Leslie and maintain his defensive momentum after keeping Vanderbilt’s Jeffery Taylor in check in the Vols’ 67-64 win over the Commodores on Saturday in Knoxville.

Top 25 RPI: The Vols rank No. 25 in the RPI rankings with a schedule strength that is No. 1 in the nation, according to RealTimeRPI.com.

Kentucky is No. 10 in the RPI rankings with a schedule strength of 19; Florida is No. 16 in the RPI with the No. 7 schedule strength; Vanderbilt is No. 24 in the RPI with a schedule strength of 34.

Scoring Scotty: Hopson has scored 15 or more points in seven consecutive games.

Two-Minute Drill: The Vols outscored Vanderbilt 7-0 at the end of the first half and 6-0 at the end of the second half.

Welcome GameDay: UT now is 3-1 playing before the ESPN College GameDay crew.

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Comments » 28

CoverOrange writes:

Just finish each play.

TopTenn writes:

Play hard with heart. GBO!

tmartin writes:

Winning the SEC is not even a reality with this team. They need to stop talking about that.

BigVolinCarolina writes:

The win against Vandy was great and much-needed, but it's not going to cure this teams' problems. We're far from being a great team, and right now it's taking everything we have to be just a good team.

We can do it, but it'll only happen if all 5 guys on the floor play as a unit on offense and defense. If we'll play with passion and hunger for 40 minutes, then we've got a chance. If we don't, we'll do good to be .500 in SEC play this season.

fpcoach writes:

Every team should have the goal of winning their conferenece. Didn't bother to read the trolls diatribe. Waste of time to read moronic rambling.

Mule_Days_King writes:

GA will give this team fits if they play no defense. It's just up to our guys to choose to play defense or have a seat next to Tony Jones on the bench. This team's offense feeds off its defense. Williams and Fields will have to "man-up" against Thompkins.

VolWoman writes:

The floor where men play, lol. I guess you don't know that Bruce takes his recruits to see Pat. He's not ashamed to have his guys play on "her" court. We've already signed two great players for next year so don't worry about us. The year after that one might be rough but Coach Pearl has always been at his best when his back is against the wall.

I didn't quote your post since you already took up enough space to waste.

Fryinpansvols writes:

in response to tmartin:

Winning the SEC is not even a reality with this team. They need to stop talking about that.

What a idiotic post! If this team wakes up and plays like they are capable of playing such as they did against Villanova and Pittsburgh they can be one of the top teams in the Country. Leadership and consistent play is what this team is missing. I have a feeling by season end they will be playing back to that level that beat those top 2 teams and started out 7-0. GBO and beat UGA!

Fryinpansvols writes:

Remember: A good defense is your best offense. If UT can stop Georgia in transition and inside the paint they will win! The Dawgs have no outside game. I have watched them a couple of times on tv already this season. GBO and beat The Bulldogs!

richvol writes:

The game at Georgia last year was a good ole fashioned arse whipping. They jumped all over UT and we looked surprised at their athleticism. I never saw so many slam dunks.

If we don't come out of the gate with fierce determination and hustle we will get beat again. We also have to shoot well.

UT can win this game...if we play hard nosed defense and share the ball like we did against Pitt and Nova we can beat these guys. The question is which UT team is going to show up.

Tenn_Dawg writes:

It should be a great game and I am looking forward to it. The Vols can certainly win if they play up to their potential. I watched the 2nd half of the UT/Vandy game and was impressed by the comeback. Sometimes a game like that is needed to get a team back on track.

It is true what the poster above stated about Georgia's outside game. There are some capable pieces there they have just not performed up to their potential yet. The inside and transition game is the Dawgs strenght right now and the game will be won or lost there.

CCLC writes:

My SEC power rating for the week. Dude, what a crazy week.

1. Kentucky - Two over-matched opponents easily put away.
2. Georgia - A dominating road win and a loss to a team that seems to think they are Arkansas. Thankfully for the Dawgs, they don't have to go to Nashville any more this season.
3. Florida - The loss on Saturday is exhibit 4 of why the Gators are the team most likely to lose in the first round of the SEC or go to the Final Four.
4. South Carolina - A nice road win. But a loss to Alabama is just...mystifying.
5. Tennessee - The cardiac kids don't do anything easy. This week is a good example with a trips to Athens and Hartford.
6. Vandy - What is it with 2nd half play on the road with this team?
7. Arkansas - First team from the West. Might be the only one to make postseason play.
8. Alabama - Moving week. Play Kentucky close and they could catch Arkansas for number seven.
9. Mississippi State - Nice road win. That'll be their last.
10. LSU - Well, at least Old Miss comes to town this week.
11. Mississippi - Dude.
12. Auburn - I predict Auburn will be reason number one why the pundits will claim the SEC is not worthy of a fifth team in the NCAA tourney.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Add TMartin as a troll you will waste your time reading. Of course when you see a "book" written by the useless troll.........."Wearebetterthanvandy" unless you have all day to do nothing else, and you like to read garbage by a troll who as we know is consumed with our site in general, and with Tennessee in particular, then you are free to do that.

I believe most of us certainly know a decent fan or even a poster here. The Katphan is probably the most intelligent fan from another school and should not be considered a troll as such. So when you see certain troll-recognizable posts, and for certain someone who spent all day writing a book as this stalker, "WearebetterthanVandy" just know what we've going to get..............nothing relevant.

Georgia? Yes, that place is a matchbox in size, comparatively, but is loud as heck. A little double deck affair. I enjoyed the games I saw there a couple years ago, especially the Candace/championship
year. I hope we win, but it will be a real struggle.

Katphan29 writes:

in response to CCLC:

My SEC power rating for the week. Dude, what a crazy week.

1. Kentucky - Two over-matched opponents easily put away.
2. Georgia - A dominating road win and a loss to a team that seems to think they are Arkansas. Thankfully for the Dawgs, they don't have to go to Nashville any more this season.
3. Florida - The loss on Saturday is exhibit 4 of why the Gators are the team most likely to lose in the first round of the SEC or go to the Final Four.
4. South Carolina - A nice road win. But a loss to Alabama is just...mystifying.
5. Tennessee - The cardiac kids don't do anything easy. This week is a good example with a trips to Athens and Hartford.
6. Vandy - What is it with 2nd half play on the road with this team?
7. Arkansas - First team from the West. Might be the only one to make postseason play.
8. Alabama - Moving week. Play Kentucky close and they could catch Arkansas for number seven.
9. Mississippi State - Nice road win. That'll be their last.
10. LSU - Well, at least Old Miss comes to town this week.
11. Mississippi - Dude.
12. Auburn - I predict Auburn will be reason number one why the pundits will claim the SEC is not worthy of a fifth team in the NCAA tourney.

Good comments CCLC, I always like to see your posts. Agree with you on FL., I don't them being consistent. I think Vandy will finish ahead of SC, I think MS ST will gel.

I believe UT will gel, but don't think it will happen until Bruce comes back. A UT surge when he returns can do alot to get UT a higher than 8th or 9th seed, probably - at a minimum - 4 seed.

I think GA will beat UT pretty handily at Athens.

CCLC writes:

in response to Katphan29:

Good comments CCLC, I always like to see your posts. Agree with you on FL., I don't them being consistent. I think Vandy will finish ahead of SC, I think MS ST will gel.

I believe UT will gel, but don't think it will happen until Bruce comes back. A UT surge when he returns can do alot to get UT a higher than 8th or 9th seed, probably - at a minimum - 4 seed.

I think GA will beat UT pretty handily at Athens.

Thanks for kind words. Between the increased FT efficiency, more focus on the boards and fewer turnovers, the Dogs are definitely a force. With the home stand coming up, I’m thinking Dawg fans will come out of the woodwork to have Stegeman at a fever pitch. Jury still out on SC (IMHO)....SC has now beaten Vandy and Florida. Who would have predicted that after losing Devan Downey from last year’s team, Carolina would actually get better??? I hear ya about the Vols. They get a lot of BBall cred from me. Their current play is more about playing Pearl-less than anything else. Dawgs catching 'em at the right time. You coming to the game? I'll be there and am bringing AHD! ;-)

binns37388 writes:

First I want to say that I enjoy reading all the posts and many good points have been made. The 2nd half performance by Scotty Hopson and Brian Williams was inspiring. Usually Hopson goes into a shell after a poor first half and sulks, but not this time. If he can play with that determination an entire game, the Vols have a chance to still win the East title and ditto for Brian Williams. Its been said many times, this team will go as far as Scotty Hopson goes. Tobias Harris is only going to get better. I also like the philosophy of letting Skylar McBee keep shooting. He can definitely light it up if the coaches have confidence in him, although he is a somewhat defensive liability. The Georgia game is a winnable road game, but I'm sure we'll be the underdog. Go Vols

CCLC writes:

in response to binns37388:

First I want to say that I enjoy reading all the posts and many good points have been made. The 2nd half performance by Scotty Hopson and Brian Williams was inspiring. Usually Hopson goes into a shell after a poor first half and sulks, but not this time. If he can play with that determination an entire game, the Vols have a chance to still win the East title and ditto for Brian Williams. Its been said many times, this team will go as far as Scotty Hopson goes. Tobias Harris is only going to get better. I also like the philosophy of letting Skylar McBee keep shooting. He can definitely light it up if the coaches have confidence in him, although he is a somewhat defensive liability. The Georgia game is a winnable road game, but I'm sure we'll be the underdog. Go Vols

They're all winnable.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

We can beat anyone, anytime and anywhere. It's all mental at this point. We have to want it more than the other team. Every time. No excuses. Play every game like it's Memphis. The seedings at the end of the season will be important. No more stupid losses. We can do it.....The time is now....

Katphan29 writes:

in response to CCLC:

Thanks for kind words. Between the increased FT efficiency, more focus on the boards and fewer turnovers, the Dogs are definitely a force. With the home stand coming up, I’m thinking Dawg fans will come out of the woodwork to have Stegeman at a fever pitch. Jury still out on SC (IMHO)....SC has now beaten Vandy and Florida. Who would have predicted that after losing Devan Downey from last year’s team, Carolina would actually get better??? I hear ya about the Vols. They get a lot of BBall cred from me. Their current play is more about playing Pearl-less than anything else. Dawgs catching 'em at the right time. You coming to the game? I'll be there and am bringing AHD! ;-)

Good point on the SC wins.....but I wonder if it says more about Vandy and FL than SC. Regardless, give them a W for the two efforts.

No, I won't be coming to the game......instead, biting my nails that my young UK freshmen don't lay an egg at Tuscaloosa.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tmartin:

Winning the SEC is not even a reality with this team. They need to stop talking about that.

Pretty silly thing to say with 13 conference games yet to play. I guess you think they ought to say, "Ah, the heck with it; we stink." Is that what you say to yourself when things go against you? If so, I guess you will never make "Employee of the Month" at MickeyD's.

UKblue02 writes:

Only way to beat Georgia is deny Thompson the ball in the paint(as much as possible) and face guard Leslie, Georgia is a VERY physical team, thats how they beat us...and like most road games expect no mercy from the refs..Good luck.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

I think the key to this game is Brian. If he plays like he did against Vandy, it will be a very close game. If he plays like he's in a cloud, we get blown out.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

My predictions have sucked this year! I will NOT predict this one ...but I think we SHOULD win. Williams needs to keep rebounding! He might should come off the bench more to keep him motivated. Besides Fields is playing pretty well.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to BigVolinCarolina:

The win against Vandy was great and much-needed, but it's not going to cure this teams' problems. We're far from being a great team, and right now it's taking everything we have to be just a good team.

We can do it, but it'll only happen if all 5 guys on the floor play as a unit on offense and defense. If we'll play with passion and hunger for 40 minutes, then we've got a chance. If we don't, we'll do good to be .500 in SEC play this season.

Agreed...first half each guy tried to take on all 5 Vandy players by himself...2nd half they truly functioned as a team. If the team we saw in the 2nd half shows up in Athens, shouldn't be a problem.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to Tenn_Dawg:

It should be a great game and I am looking forward to it. The Vols can certainly win if they play up to their potential. I watched the 2nd half of the UT/Vandy game and was impressed by the comeback. Sometimes a game like that is needed to get a team back on track.

It is true what the poster above stated about Georgia's outside game. There are some capable pieces there they have just not performed up to their potential yet. The inside and transition game is the Dawgs strenght right now and the game will be won or lost there.

Yeah, I thought they had a breakout game against Memphis and all their problems were solved... Just so hard to read this team. They have the talent to win the SEC; question is can they consistently use that talent to win games with.

NYvolFan writes:

While I know we need to be focused on Georgia, I sure hope the Vols can gain some good stuff from watching this Villanova @ UConn game going on now.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to UKblue02:

Only way to beat Georgia is deny Thompson the ball in the paint(as much as possible) and face guard Leslie, Georgia is a VERY physical team, thats how they beat us...and like most road games expect no mercy from the refs..Good luck.

this GA team is as complete as any they've had in 10 years..All 5 starters are solid..More to worry about than Leslie and Thompkins;new transfer from TSU;Robinson has been lighting it up for 20 points in SEC games..I don't think we can contain 4 scorers but we can outshoot them if we shoot 50% and force some turnovers..Harris has got to play way better on defense

CCLC writes:

in response to Katphan29:

Good point on the SC wins.....but I wonder if it says more about Vandy and FL than SC. Regardless, give them a W for the two efforts.

No, I won't be coming to the game......instead, biting my nails that my young UK freshmen don't lay an egg at Tuscaloosa.

Well SC is awfully young. So your thinking they run out of gas the last leg of their season? Pitt looked strong last night didn't they?

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